Published On: Tue, Nov 13th, 2012

Former CLICO director says he’s ready to tell all

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Facing eviction from his home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada as Christmas approaches, former consultant and director of Colonial Life Insurance Ltd (CLICO), Gene Dziadyk, is willing to tell all to the police, in the wake of the announcement that a criminal investigation has been launched into the conduct of key executives of the former insurance giant.

"I absolutely stand ready to give information to the police or to anyone else. I have nothing to hide," he said in an interview with the Express.

Last Thursday Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard stated via a press release that a full criminal investigation had been started by the police into the conduct of CLICO and CL Financial executives and others involved in the collapse of the financial institution.

Dziadyk said, "I had written voluminous documents in my seven years at CLICO commenting on inappropriate and unlawful behaviour, including complicity by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, removing funds from the CLICO statutory fund, and warning of the impending disaster of operating CLICO in accordance with the 'capital appreciation" business model' that I had consistently claimed was inappropriate for a financial institution, and the authorities have these documents."

Dziadyk said after he was invited to join CLICO in 2001 as CEO he sold all his assets in Canada and together with his wife handed over their life savings, reportedly over TT$35million into the Executive Flexible Premium Account (EFPA).

After six months as CEO he was fired by executive chairman Lawrence Duprey, but was retained as a consultant until 2008. Upon joining the company, Dziadyk said he tried to effect sustainable changes but these changes were rejected by the board and he was subsequently fired.

He said he presented to the CLICO board June 17, 2002 : "Establishing The Current Position" which stated: "If we cannot agree on the depth and severity of Colonial Life's problems, we will never agree on how to fix CLICO and BA (British American); they owe their existence to ineffective government. How long will that be so, and where will they be when the government wakes up? Saving these companies has to be job #1: This is not 'tweaking,' but an enormous paradigm shift."

Dziadyk, who was fired by Duprey for the second time in April 2008, claimed that his signed contract was ripped up and he was long gone by the time of the January 2009 collapse.

He said he had requested his policy funds before the Memorandum of Understanding and claimed he was assured by CLICO that those amounts would be paid.

As to his current destitute position, the former CLICO consultant said, "I have a October 31, 2012 statement of claim from the bank that due to the indebtedness and default, the bank is moving to possess the property. I have about 60 days to sell before my family is evicted." He added that the indebtedness is almost exactly equal to the accrued value of the confiscated EFPA.

Dziadyk said he is prepared to appear before the Commissioner of Enquiry when it resumes on December 3, but he lacks the resources to do so. "I have been corresponding with the Commission of Enquiry, and I would love to testify before it, but I lost my life savings. My family is impoverished. I have no money to travel, pay hotel fees, and to hire a lawyer to come to Trinidad," he said.

The commission of enquiry into CLICO was appointed in November 2010 by the Government and Sir Anthony Colman named as the lone commissioner.

Dziadyk added, " I am losing all of my properties, my family is distraught, my reputation as an actuary is destroyed. I am planning to sell my properties at half the price."

Having lost everything that he has worked for, the former CLICO consultant had harsh words for the Central Bank, the government and former finance minister Karen Nunez Tesheira.

It's ironic, he said, that "some people say Trinidad is a lawless country, crime in the streets, but I have never been robbed in the streets, but by the governing elites...."

"The government is not giving us information to understand what is happening, we are just left out in the cold," he said.

Asked why he did not remove his money following his firing, Dziadyk said it was a difficult time, and he was forced to stay in the country since he had uprooted his family from their Canadian home, and his daughter was enrolled in school here.

"All of a sudden I was fired, not employed. I did not want Duprey to know that I was in the country as I was on a work permit but without work and my daughter had to finish school in June. I started taking out my money in bits to stay under the radar screen. I felt threatened and the bottom line was I was royally screwed," he said.

As to action he took to recover his funds, Dziadyk said, "in my desperation as a principal casualty of the CLICO fiasco, I have made an absolute fool of myself writing documents nobody cares about because they paint a picture nobody wants to see, or admit to".. He surmised that had the government wound up the company, the liquidator would have sold the assets for their true value and the people would have been paid in cash.

According to him, "I may be the only one who read the Insurance Act. I have unique skills and knowledge and would love to tell the people of Trinidad, a country that we absolutely loved what I know."

Source: Trinidad Express

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